In Style + Design

Prices, Materials & More: Secrets For Buying A Top-Notch Suitcase

Any seasoned traveller will tell you: the luggage you choose has a substantial impact on your travels.

A suitcase will be your companion for your entire holiday. The way it feels to carry, and the way it rolls alongside you or fits into a car boot are of no insignificant detail. Not to mention the fact it will also influence what you pack and the condition of the valuables you take with you.

With all that in mind, it’s clear to see why so many have a hard time selecting the right suitcase. So, to aid you in your decision, below three industry experts share their tips on how to find luggage to elevate your holiday or business trip – every time.

Pay attention to materials

What your suitcase is made out of is crucial, says Athan Didaskalou, co-founder of luggage company July.

Image: Daniel Nieto / Unsplash

“The case should be made from a durable and strong material that will keep your belongings protected and secure,” he shared. “German polycarbonate and aluminium are the best, while plastics like ABS [acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene] and PP [polypropylene] are to be avoided.

“The wheels should swivel quietly and easily across all surfaces. They are the one thing taking the full force of the road and the full weight of the case and its contents. You’re looking for thick rubber layers, quality plastics, and a nice feel as it rolls.”

Hard cases dominate over soft

“I have always travelled with hard cases,” said Adrian Teh, general manager of soon-to-open Hilton Melbourne Little Queen. “I find them to be more convenient. And from a durability perspective, it provides more protection for your belongings.”

Rob van Ravens, Head of Category for Travel Gear of Victorinox, added: “On a global level, hard-side luggage is trending. Safety, stability and protection are some keywords we hear very often as a reason why consumers value these hard-shell products. Soft-side luggage, nevertheless, will always continue to play an important role,” he said.

“Mostly for carry-on luggage with a business functionality – due to the larger number of pockets and easier access to your laptop or other items.”

Only invest in useful tech

Smart luggage has been a significant point of interest for travellers of late. But are these products offering worthwhile additions to the travel experience? The answer to that is yes and no.

“Not all tech is useful,” says Didaskalou.

He explained that some brands have started building options like trackers or “fingerprint openers” into modern bags, when in reality, “consumers are not looking for those things as a priority, and they’re not solving any real pain points”.

In saying that, he highlighted that there are some practical options available too.

“A real pain point for the customers we spoke to was running out of power at the airport,” he said. “The July carry on has an ejectable battery pack with a USB and USB-C port to charge your phone and laptop. Nothing beats the peace of mind knowing your devices will be connected throughout your travels without relying on airport charging ports.”

Your luggage is an extension of your style

Gone are the days of tying an old ribbon to your black or navy suitcase to help it stand out on a luggage carousel. An influx of design options now allows travellers to set their bags apart without compromising on style.

Image: July / supplied

“The colour range being offered by some brands can really add some ‘pop’ to your next holiday,” shared Teh. “Additionally, companies such as Rimowa are now collaborating with other luxury fashion brands providing travellers with more bespoke luggage…”

Van Ravens echoed this point: “Even though the majority of luggage pieces are still purchased in black, the trend of attractive colours is gaining popularity,” he said. “It’s all about recognisability and showing your own style.”

If you’d like to customise your suitcase further, there’s always monogramming too. Didaskalou explained that July offers custom-personalisation “with five font styles, 19 font colours and three placement options. It’s a great way to make your luggage feel like it’s truly yours,” he said.

A premium price usually means a premium product

Pieces that last a lifetime have traditionally been high-end, luxury options “that you pay in the thousands for,” explained Didaskalou. Nowadays, however, brands are emerging that offer “longer-lasting products at a fraction of the traditional price points,” he said.

Generally speaking, it remains true that it’s worth investing in superior luggage brands, but make sure that customer satisfaction is included in the price.

“I would suggest opting for a reputable brand,” shared Teh. “One that provides excellent customer support and service whilst also providing confidence with an international warranty.” (Lifetime warranty is always the goal.)

Follow these five expert tips, and you’ll land yourself a stylish travel-companion for life.

(Lead images: Brandless / Unsplash)

Published 23 December, 2019